A Florida family vacation witnessed the tragic death of a friend and a teenager from Atlanta. Two men dived into the Gulf of Mexico to save a number of children but lost their own lives.
On Thursday, 16-year-old Bryce Brooks and family friend Charles Johnson II, fondly referred to as “Uncle Chuck,” were enjoying a spring break trip to Pensacola when disaster struck. They were on the beach in Perdido Key when four children whom they did not know got caught in a dangerous rip current and began drowning. Escambia County Fire Battalion Chief Steve Boothe claimed that the current was so rough that day that it dragged the unsuspecting swimmers 100 yards farther away from the shore.
According to the parents of Bryce, Shivy Brooks, and Crystal Brooks, Bryce jumped in to save their children. Johnson followed Bryce and was airlifted to a hospital where he was declared dead.
“Being selfless, our son Bryce, while being pulled by the currents himself, literally called for help, not for himself, but he was calling for help for the little kids that he was looking out for,” Shivy Brooks said. “Bryce is a hero. He literally saved the lives of four kids at the expense of his own.”
Bryce was an honor roll student at Maynard Jackson High School in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a member of Maynard’s fashion group.
While Bryce’s parents still grieve, they know their son died a hero.
“Uncle Chuck” Johnson was a married man with three sons, two of whom attend Maynard as well.